Friday, February 8, 2013

Weight loss is tricky...

OK, so now I'm one month and one day into my serious diet (more serious than the rest I've done, at least), and there have been VERY positive results.  And, a few negative ones resulting from those positive ones.  First, the positives:
  • I'm down somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 pounds from where I was when I started this on January 7.
  • I'm not in new clothes yet, but have had to notch my belt up a couple of holes to keep me pants up (yes, "me" was correctly typed--I'm sure it sounds better read out loud).
  • I can get my wedding ring off my finger if it's sufficiently cold.  That puppy hadn't seen the light of day for at least a year and a half, if not more.  The wife questions why I'd want to take it off, but it's only to demonstrate to myself that I don't have fat fingers.  I also like reading the inscription inside the ring...I mean, I know what it says, but it's nice to see it and reflect on how sweet the wife is.  Ahhhhhh, how sweet!!!.....
  • It isn't yet official, but I've probably won this month's work weight loss contest.  OK, so that's really just selfish, but I'm kind of competitive when I want to be, and the contest has been a fair motivator.
But, the negatives are starting to come to light:
  • I'm so low on energy, it's driving me crazy (and my family).  To be expected when your daily caloric intake has been so severely restricted.
[OK, time for a caveat here...I know that severely-reduced calorie diets like the one I'm currently on are not recommended for most people due to the side effects I'm in the middle of describing.  I have fully accepted the risks that are contained therein.  (Man, this lawyer thing just permeates EVERYTHING, doesn't it?)  Please don't take the opportunity to tell me how stupid this is...I'm doing this for a variety of reasons, even though I know it's not necessarily what most credible experts preach.  I am doing this only temporarily, to give myself a fighting chance at starting over at a more healthy weight, and I even don't recommend this for everyone.  Consult a physician (like I've done).]
  • I've hit a fairly moderate plateau...I've only lost a pound in the last week and a half.  This is distressing, as it's tough to want to stick with the diet when it looks like it ain't working.  This led to...
  • Last night, when I experienced some moderate internal distress as well as some of the worst malaise I've yet gone through.  I swore I couldn't eat another vegetable that night, so the wife (bless her heart) made me some ham sandwiches on whole wheat bread with a minimum of mayonnaise.  This is contrary to the diet, as carbs like grains are pretty much forbidden if they're not already incorporated into the provided meal packets.  After gorging on two sandwiches, I couldn't help it and ate two 100-calorie granola bars as well as two snack bars that are part of the diet system (and which are restricted to two a week).  The internal distress is still with me this afternoon, but emotionally I'm feeling much better...I think the "gorge" (and I say this in quotes, as my gorge was an exceptionally healthy one, by most standards) helped a lot.
Going forward, I still will be extremely careful.  But, everything I'm reading right now (by more generally accepted standards) a plateau can be an indicator of the body starving (especially after extremely quick weight loss, as I've experienced).  The solution is counter-intuitive, and involves actually eating closer to normal for a little while to convince the body that it won't starve, then reducing calories again.  The trainer here at work, who is very skilled, also indicated that a couple weeks "off" would be advantageous, if for nothing else than my mental outlook and mood.  So, I think I've resolved to temporarily eat a little closer to normal, although I'm still going to avoid sugary foods like the plague.  I'm sort of afraid this will screw me up going into the last month of our little contest, especially when I'm not in first place overall yet, but long-term weight loss is what's important, so I need to set myself up for success that way more than I need to worry about winning a little contest, which probably should be set for more than 3 months to encourage a more healthy approach for everyone.

So, I actually ordered a sandwich from Subway today.  On wheat bread, of course.  I feel a little better, for sure.  I still had a Coke Zero instead of a full-on non-diet soda, and had the usual cookies (they're to die for at Subway, if you've never had them) replaced by a yogurt.  I think I can live like this, at least for now.  Since I still have a lot more weight I'd like to drop (close to 70 pounds yet), this will only last a little while, but should be more representative of my approach after the diet has ended.  Good to get used to it now, especially when I'm afraid I may just binge my way around all the fast-food places in town I've missed during my diet after it's all over.  This is a mental game like I've never played before.  Throw in some real body changes, both positive and negative, and it's a real personal battle.  But, right now, I think I'm winning.  I've had so much support from loved ones and co-workers, and it's so helpful.  I really hope I continue to succeed, because I want to look better--but most importantly, I want to FEEL better.  I'm on the right track, I think.  It does feel good to have accomplished something this hard.  Just gotta keep it up, and not beat myself up if I slip.


At February 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM , Blogger steve-o said...

Plateauing is normal, so don't get discouraged. And I agree that sometimes you have to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. I've frequently found on my diets that a few days of breaking the rules can be all that's needed in order to take the next step forward in weight loss. "Calorie confusion" is fairly popular these days, but most people that embrace it seem to do it on a level that involves the same caloric intake from a weekly perspective, with the ups and downs being across days instead of weeks. Whatever works for you, right?

What would concern me more is your overall weight loss method. You mentioned a trainer, so there might be exercise in there, but you didn't directly mention exercise. If you're restricting your calories and you're not exercising much, then you're likely losing a lot of muscle and not as much fat. Both this and the calorie restrictions would cause the weakness you feel. So, if that's what you're doing, then yes, I would urge you to strongly reconsider and to up the calorie/protein intake, and to pair that with weight training and exercise. More muscle = more calories burned per day.

Keep it up! Your progress is great so far.

At February 9, 2013 at 8:56 AM , Blogger Whiplash77 said...

Thanks, my friend. I am slowly ramping up the exercise, although it's been hard on the reduced calories. But, I have to report that when I got on the scale this morning, the day after eating a real Subway sandwich and even a 7-layer burrito from Taco Bell for dinner, that I had somehow dropped another 1.5 pounds from yesterday. Totally counterintuitive, but yeah, it seems I do need a few more calories to make it. Thanks for your support, Steve!


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